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Drink-driving dad sentenced for van crash which almost killed son in Margate

A criminal on the run punctured his young son’s lung after smashing his van into a tree before ricocheting into a parked car.

Jacek Jarosz drank half a bottle of vodka before “driving erratically” in Margate with his four-year-old son in the passenger seat.

A photo taken at the scene. Picture: Nick Elms
A photo taken at the scene. Picture: Nick Elms

The 49-year-old lost control of the three-tonne vehicle in Dane Valley Road and ploughed into the tree, knocking the child unconscious.

He now faces extradition for a separate robbery offence in his native country of Poland.

Onlookers rescued the boy from the wreckage before freeing Jarosz, who, at the time of the crash, declared he’d hit the same tree twice before.

Prosecutor Alex Matthews described Jarosz as four times the legal drink-drive limit, adding: “This is a four year-old in a van with a very drunk father.”

The crash, which happened on the afternoon of January 10 this year, triggered a huge emergency response.

Eli was rushed to London’s King’s College Hospital by ambulance with cuts and brain haemorrhages.

Judge Simon James
Judge Simon James

He was also treated for a collapsed lung.

Meanwhile Jarosz admitted drinking half a bottle of vodka and confirmed he was the driver in a police interview, Canterbury Crown Court heard.

The Polish national could be seen occasionally with his head in his hands as he appeared via videolink from HMP Elmley during sentencing.

Judge Simon James told the court Jarosz could be “staring down the barrel” of a nine-and-a-half year sentence, once he is extradited for the robbery.

"This is a four year-old in a van with a very drunk father"

The court heard although Jarosz was of good character in the UK, he had served significant prison spells in his home country for various convictions including fraud and deprivation of liberty alongside the pending robbery case.

The judge said he would suspend a two-year prison sentence for two years to expedite Jarosz’s extradition and help protect the public purse.

But he ordered Jarosz to be remanded in custody until his extradition, adding: “Having been sentenced to substantial time in prison in your native Poland, you appear to have escaped to England and started a new life.

“Despite your criminal background you remained offence-free until under the influence of alcohol you drove your vehicle at speed into a collision with a tree.

Canterbury Crown Court
Canterbury Crown Court

“The impact led to your son being admitted into intensive care where he was treated for brain haemorrhages and a collapsed lung.”

Mitigating, Ivona Boesche told the judge: “He has already been punished by almost killing his own son. It is something he is going to have to live with for the rest of his life.

“He does not in any way and has not sought to minimise the offence or harm.

“Another punishment is Mr Jarosz does not know if he will be allowed to see his son again, and if he is extradited he will not be able to contact him.”

Jarosz, of William Avenue in Margate, was sentenced to two years, suspended for two years, for causing serious injury by dangerous driving and driving while unfit through alcohol.

He was also banned from driving in the UK for three years.

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